Economic Annals of the Nineteenth Century

By William Smart | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXIII
1815. WATERLOO

WHEN Parliament reassembled on 8th February, the very first matters brought up were the Bank Restriction and the taxation. The Chancellor of the Exchequer intimated that he would move the House into committee to consider the continuing Act of last year, and it was understood that he would propose further delay in the resumption of cash payments. Horner was indignant. No papers connected with the subject had been given to the House nor indeed any information whatever. How could they know what the Bank had been doing during the past year? Was the Chancellor going to propose a renewal of the restriction without first moving for a Committee on the affairs of the Bank? Vansittart acridly retorted that it was not the first time Horner had been hardly dealt with on the question of the Bank restriction, as all the events which had happened since the time when that question was first agitated had controverted the opinions of the chairman of the Bullion Committee.1 On the 16th, he said that all were agreed that cash payments could not possibly be resumed by the 21st March, and moved to bring in a Bill for the continuance of the restrictions for a time to be limited. The Restriction Act. must continue "at least until the accounts of our foreign expenditure could be wound up, and until the state of our exchanges, and of the bullion trade, should be further improved."2

The Bank Restriction

But, on 2nd March, Lord Archibald Hamilton moved for a Committee on the State of the Bank of England, with a view to find out whether the Bank was or was not in a situation to resume cash payments, and whether it was desirous of so doing. It was on evidence, he said, that the Bank did not think it would be a serious evil if the restrictions were made permanent. If so, it was high time for Parliament to take the subject into its

____________________
1
Hansard, xxix. 711.
2
Ibid.790.

-418-

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